Author Topic: Picking Cain's Brains  (Read 73228 times)

POFP

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Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« Reply #270 on: February 25, 2022, 08:35:36 pm »
(Assuming this is about Picking Cain's Brains in general, and not just about Middle East conflict. Please let me know if this should go somewhere else.)

I'm familiar with the history of NATO's expansion and Russia's realistic geostrategic concerns surrounding Ukraine joining NATO. What I can't wrap my head around is why we left the table of Diplomacy for this and guaranteed an invasion of Ukraine? Russia openly bolstered their Economic Security for years to ensure that sanctions would no longer be very effective (Except for oil, but my reading tells me this has a massive impact on other NATO countries like Germany, and otherwise backs Russia into an even more precarious corner that might make conflict less predictable.), and the State Department/President knew this, so obviously their plan wasn't to Sanction Russia out of conflict again. The only conclusion I can come to is that we generally saw this coming a mile away, and pretty bluntly did nothing about it because the path of least resistance from a Cost-Benefit scenario was to:

1. Let Russia invade Ukraine
2. Send Ukraine weapons/support that would barely constitute a drop from our military budget to maintain the appearance of caring about their sovereignty

Did we actually do this? Did we push these tensions by expanding NATO just so Russia could take Ukraine? It technically removes the conflict, as there would then be no nation to have join NATO, and therefore nothing to fight with Russia over for now.

I feel like I have to be missing something pretty big and obvious. Even a Capitalist/Imperialist country like the US couldn't be so apathetic that they saw the easiest solution to the crisis being the absorption of Ukraine into Russia via all-out war. Also, wouldn't this embolden Russia to push the envelope further once they realized they could get away with it? Wouldn't they wanna push to expand further? I feel like this is just an attempt to create the conditions that make the "New Russian Sphere of Influence" argument a material justification for further demonization of Russia.

After some further reading, it appears the main goal of this tactic was to ensure Russia had more work to do in order to expand and undo NATO, while simultaneously preventing direct conflict between NATO and Russia in the short term. If we let Russia invade Ukraine but ensure Ukraine's defenses are bolstered with modern NATO Defense systems, Russia has to expend more effort and resources to go beyond Ukraine. Combined with Sanctions that extricate Russia from the Global Economy, it appears the general goal is to bleed them out before they can pick up Westward momentum.

But this just begs the question, considering Russia's efforts to defend against Sanctions: Isn't this just kicking the can down the road? Or worse, backing them into a more desperate corner?

And isn't the easiest way out of this situation to back off NATO expansion and talk Ukraine and any other Russian neighbors "off the [NATO Membership] ledge"? I mean, what good is a military-based Peace Alliance like NATO if membership increase feeds conflict? Russians have made it clear that further expansion Eastward is fatal.
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Cain

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Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« Reply #271 on: February 26, 2022, 09:46:06 am »
I think you're giving too much credit to the US here and too little agency to the Russians.

Let's be very clear here: Russia had a choice. I thought up until about a week ago that this was simply then playing hardball on the Minsk agreement - a framework agreed upon by Russia, the US, the EU and Ukraine that in theory would have resolved Russia's concerns about NATO on their borders without dismembering Ukraine entirely. The essence of it would have been that the separatist regions of Ukraine would have been recognised as having a special regional status and greater freedoms to institute their own laws but in return would get a veto over future national security arrangements. This would have allowed for Russia to covertly control them from behind the scenes and use them to keep them out of the NATO framework. Again, this was agreed to by the US, though Ukraine was dragging it's feet on implementing it.

However, we can now clearly see that was not the case. Indeed, Russia was engaging in duplicitous diplomacy with France and Germany right up until the point the invasion started precisely to convince them that this was their aim.

Furthermore, the Ukraine of today is not the Ukraine of ten years ago. Despite not being a member of NATO, it's armed forces have been considerably hardened by US and EU aid, most notably advanced Stingers and MANPADs were unlocked for sale a couple of months back - in conjunction with everything else they've been given over the past eight years, they have the means to turn Ukraine into a hellish insurgent landscape. The kind of urban fighting that commanders hate and irregular fighters love - that's what awaits the Russians currently in Kiev and Odessa, and they are going to be bloodied night and day until they leave. Bombs on the street, rat poison and glass in their food...it's never going to end and they'll be looking over their backs every moment they're there.

Finally, Russia's economy cannot afford a protracted conflict, and nor can their military. They are trying to run a superpower on an economy the size of Texas. Three-quarters of their available manpower is now concentrated on Ukraine or the borders around it. That means they are weaker everywhere else - and the longer this goes on, the weaker they will get. NATO won't take direct advantage of this, because no-one wants two nuclear powers fighting - but you can bet Russia's partners in the Middle East, the Caucasians and in Central Asia will feel their absence.

In short, there were a lot of reasons to believe that Russia would not invade, because invading is about the dumbest thing Putin could do. But he did. Putin chose to wage a war of aggression, when he had other options available, and the reasons for that are complicated but essentially there is a revanchist, nationalistic movement within the Russian "mainstream" that wishes to rectify the "mistakes" of history, such as the dissolution of the Russian Empire and it's successor state in the Soviet Union.

This movement views countries like Ukraine and even Belarus as illegitimate creations of the Soviet state that should have returned to a Russian status at the end of the Cold War. It's this movement which managed to get a vote through the Russian Parliament that those Ukrainian regions be recognised as independent - and certainly it can be argued that such a proposal never would have made it through without being agreed on from higher up. But Russia is not a straightforward dictatorship where a single man rules - there are factions and key constituencies who need to be listened to and supported, and there is negotiation back and forth between these groups and various power centres in the Russian state, which includes oligarchs who stand to profit not only from a conflict in Ukraine but the establishment of new markets where sanctions are not applied to them. These power centres, for their various reasons, decided a Ukrainian invasion was the way to go, and so allowed the vote to go ahead.

That's not to say that the US and NATO do not share some blame - they certainly could have done more, both historically and in the present to try and assure Russia of it's security aims. At the same time, given what has already been provided, it's hard to say what would have actually convinced the Russians to back off, without a complete change in NATO policy going back to the early 1990s or similar. A democratic Ukraine was always going to be on contentious ground with an autocratic Russia - and would naturally seek allies and frameworks agreed on with them to try and blunt any Russian aggression. The lack of natural barriers - barring the Dnieper - in the region mean security is always going to be fraught and hard to obtain in any concrete way except through these alliances and agreements, and short of telling Ukraine to fend for itself and leaving it to the Russians to absorb, I think any degree of assistance was always going to be looked upon by a suspicious Kremlin as the first step in a NATO agreement. In short, Russia views Ukraine in a simple binary position of either it is with them, or it is against them. Clearly it is not with them for now, so the only thing to do is secure a regime change to ensure that is not the case in the future.

POFP

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Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« Reply #272 on: February 26, 2022, 03:31:47 pm »
I think you're giving too much credit to the US here and too little agency to the Russians.

Let's be very clear here: Russia had a choice. I thought up until about a week ago that this was simply then playing hardball on the Minsk agreement - a framework agreed upon by Russia, the US, the EU and Ukraine that in theory would have resolved Russia's concerns about NATO on their borders without dismembering Ukraine entirely. The essence of it would have been that the separatist regions of Ukraine would have been recognised as having a special regional status and greater freedoms to institute their own laws but in return would get a veto over future national security arrangements. This would have allowed for Russia to covertly control them from behind the scenes and use them to keep them out of the NATO framework. Again, this was agreed to by the US, though Ukraine was dragging it's feet on implementing it.

However, we can now clearly see that was not the case. Indeed, Russia was engaging in duplicitous diplomacy with France and Germany right up until the point the invasion started precisely to convince them that this was their aim.

Furthermore, the Ukraine of today is not the Ukraine of ten years ago. Despite not being a member of NATO, it's armed forces have been considerably hardened by US and EU aid, most notably advanced Stingers and MANPADs were unlocked for sale a couple of months back - in conjunction with everything else they've been given over the past eight years, they have the means to turn Ukraine into a hellish insurgent landscape. The kind of urban fighting that commanders hate and irregular fighters love - that's what awaits the Russians currently in Kiev and Odessa, and they are going to be bloodied night and day until they leave. Bombs on the street, rat poison and glass in their food...it's never going to end and they'll be looking over their backs every moment they're there.

Finally, Russia's economy cannot afford a protracted conflict, and nor can their military. They are trying to run a superpower on an economy the size of Texas. Three-quarters of their available manpower is now concentrated on Ukraine or the borders around it. That means they are weaker everywhere else - and the longer this goes on, the weaker they will get. NATO won't take direct advantage of this, because no-one wants two nuclear powers fighting - but you can bet Russia's partners in the Middle East, the Caucasians and in Central Asia will feel their absence.

In short, there were a lot of reasons to believe that Russia would not invade, because invading is about the dumbest thing Putin could do. But he did. Putin chose to wage a war of aggression, when he had other options available, and the reasons for that are complicated but essentially there is a revanchist, nationalistic movement within the Russian "mainstream" that wishes to rectify the "mistakes" of history, such as the dissolution of the Russian Empire and it's successor state in the Soviet Union.

This movement views countries like Ukraine and even Belarus as illegitimate creations of the Soviet state that should have returned to a Russian status at the end of the Cold War. It's this movement which managed to get a vote through the Russian Parliament that those Ukrainian regions be recognised as independent - and certainly it can be argued that such a proposal never would have made it through without being agreed on from higher up. But Russia is not a straightforward dictatorship where a single man rules - there are factions and key constituencies who need to be listened to and supported, and there is negotiation back and forth between these groups and various power centres in the Russian state, which includes oligarchs who stand to profit not only from a conflict in Ukraine but the establishment of new markets where sanctions are not applied to them. These power centres, for their various reasons, decided a Ukrainian invasion was the way to go, and so allowed the vote to go ahead.

That's not to say that the US and NATO do not share some blame - they certainly could have done more, both historically and in the present to try and assure Russia of it's security aims. At the same time, given what has already been provided, it's hard to say what would have actually convinced the Russians to back off, without a complete change in NATO policy going back to the early 1990s or similar. A democratic Ukraine was always going to be on contentious ground with an autocratic Russia - and would naturally seek allies and frameworks agreed on with them to try and blunt any Russian aggression. The lack of natural barriers - barring the Dnieper - in the region mean security is always going to be fraught and hard to obtain in any concrete way except through these alliances and agreements, and short of telling Ukraine to fend for itself and leaving it to the Russians to absorb, I think any degree of assistance was always going to be looked upon by a suspicious Kremlin as the first step in a NATO agreement. In short, Russia views Ukraine in a simple binary position of either it is with them, or it is against them. Clearly it is not with them for now, so the only thing to do is secure a regime change to ensure that is not the case in the future.

Thank you for this, Cain. This details exactly the nuances and finer history I was missing.

I guess the perspective I was coming from was that the US's role in the history of the tension, especially in Bush's open backing of Ukraine's entry into NATO in 2008, combined with the US's undeniable influence and influential capabilities involving the current situation, made them responsible to some degree. The old addage "With Great Power comes Great Responsibility" and so on. In my view, Ukraine asking to join NATO and the US openly inviting them (Even after that request to join) look very different from the perspective of a country who's worried about Western aggression and their security. And I feel like if that were the case, the State/Defense Departments knew that and were still okay with it anyways.

But also, as an American who's sick of seeing its leaders use other Countries as Chess Pawns for financial gain, I couldn't help but feel like many of these scenarios were already accounted for by US Defense/State Departments, and that steps were taken to ensure only one or two scenarios were possible - Neither of them involving peace.

At the very least, the US's stance in most cases is "How can this situation be used to benefit me the most?", and I would argue that that starting point skews almost every single International discussion on conflict in a dangerous long term direction.

That being said, I'm not suggesting that the US is solely responsible. We know the Russian Oligarchs are a bunch of cunts, and what you've said about Ukraine's new defenses and tactics has given me a much brighter outlook on the results of the conflict, and put me in the mood of "Fuck it, let's send in as much support to Ukraine as possible and make Russian Oligarchs go 'On second thought, let's not go [further West]. T'is a [scary] place.'"

Gangster-ass Ukraine, understanding fully the dangers of joining NATO being a Russian neighbor, still wants to join. If anyone deserved to join, it'd be them. So I guess let's give Russia Hell.
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POFP

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Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« Reply #273 on: February 27, 2022, 08:00:29 pm »
On second thought, I'm back to thinking this War shouldn't have been considered an option by any party, and that any inaction or provocative action that contributed to it by any of the world powers, be it the Ukrainian, US, or Russian governments or otherwise, is unacceptable. I think the fact that we keep accepting Imperialist strategies in National Security discourse is part of what's contributing to their popularity, beyond their general effectiveness in securing Coercive Control (Not that you were or anything - I just mean about supporting things like NATO or other systems that contrute to conflict-for-profit.). I would rather concede money and resources to Dictators in exchange for other concessions in Power or expansion, and encourage healthy dissent in their populations through Discordian propaganda.
This Certified Pope™ reserves the Right to, on occasion, "be a complete dumbass", and otherwise ponder "idiotic" and/or "useless" ideas and other such "tomfoolery." [Aforementioned] are only responsible for the results of these actions and tendencies when they have had their addictive substance of choice for that day.

Being a Product of their Environment's Collective Order and Disorder, [Aforementioned] also reserves the Right to have their ideas, technologies, and otherwise all Intellectual Property stolen, re-purposed, and re-attributed at Will ONLY by other Certified Popes. Corporations, LLC's, and otherwise Capitalist-based organizations are NOT capable of being Certified Popes.

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Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« Reply #274 on: February 28, 2022, 02:23:45 pm »
I think you're giving too much credit to the US here and too little agency to the Russians.

Let's be very clear here: Russia had a choice. I thought up until about a week ago that this was simply then playing hardball on the Minsk agreement - a framework agreed upon by Russia, the US, the EU and Ukraine that in theory would have resolved Russia's concerns about NATO on their borders without dismembering Ukraine entirely. The essence of it would have been that the separatist regions of Ukraine would have been recognised as having a special regional status and greater freedoms to institute their own laws but in return would get a veto over future national security arrangements. This would have allowed for Russia to covertly control them from behind the scenes and use them to keep them out of the NATO framework. Again, this was agreed to by the US, though Ukraine was dragging it's feet on implementing it.

However, we can now clearly see that was not the case. Indeed, Russia was engaging in duplicitous diplomacy with France and Germany right up until the point the invasion started precisely to convince them that this was their aim.

Furthermore, the Ukraine of today is not the Ukraine of ten years ago. Despite not being a member of NATO, it's armed forces have been considerably hardened by US and EU aid, most notably advanced Stingers and MANPADs were unlocked for sale a couple of months back - in conjunction with everything else they've been given over the past eight years, they have the means to turn Ukraine into a hellish insurgent landscape. The kind of urban fighting that commanders hate and irregular fighters love - that's what awaits the Russians currently in Kiev and Odessa, and they are going to be bloodied night and day until they leave. Bombs on the street, rat poison and glass in their food...it's never going to end and they'll be looking over their backs every moment they're there.

Finally, Russia's economy cannot afford a protracted conflict, and nor can their military. They are trying to run a superpower on an economy the size of Texas. Three-quarters of their available manpower is now concentrated on Ukraine or the borders around it. That means they are weaker everywhere else - and the longer this goes on, the weaker they will get. NATO won't take direct advantage of this, because no-one wants two nuclear powers fighting - but you can bet Russia's partners in the Middle East, the Caucasians and in Central Asia will feel their absence.

In short, there were a lot of reasons to believe that Russia would not invade, because invading is about the dumbest thing Putin could do. But he did. Putin chose to wage a war of aggression, when he had other options available, and the reasons for that are complicated but essentially there is a revanchist, nationalistic movement within the Russian "mainstream" that wishes to rectify the "mistakes" of history, such as the dissolution of the Russian Empire and it's successor state in the Soviet Union.

This movement views countries like Ukraine and even Belarus as illegitimate creations of the Soviet state that should have returned to a Russian status at the end of the Cold War. It's this movement which managed to get a vote through the Russian Parliament that those Ukrainian regions be recognised as independent - and certainly it can be argued that such a proposal never would have made it through without being agreed on from higher up. But Russia is not a straightforward dictatorship where a single man rules - there are factions and key constituencies who need to be listened to and supported, and there is negotiation back and forth between these groups and various power centres in the Russian state, which includes oligarchs who stand to profit not only from a conflict in Ukraine but the establishment of new markets where sanctions are not applied to them. These power centres, for their various reasons, decided a Ukrainian invasion was the way to go, and so allowed the vote to go ahead.

That's not to say that the US and NATO do not share some blame - they certainly could have done more, both historically and in the present to try and assure Russia of it's security aims. At the same time, given what has already been provided, it's hard to say what would have actually convinced the Russians to back off, without a complete change in NATO policy going back to the early 1990s or similar. A democratic Ukraine was always going to be on contentious ground with an autocratic Russia - and would naturally seek allies and frameworks agreed on with them to try and blunt any Russian aggression. The lack of natural barriers - barring the Dnieper - in the region mean security is always going to be fraught and hard to obtain in any concrete way except through these alliances and agreements, and short of telling Ukraine to fend for itself and leaving it to the Russians to absorb, I think any degree of assistance was always going to be looked upon by a suspicious Kremlin as the first step in a NATO agreement. In short, Russia views Ukraine in a simple binary position of either it is with them, or it is against them. Clearly it is not with them for now, so the only thing to do is secure a regime change to ensure that is not the case in the future.

Thanks Cain,

I haven't been able to get my head around it, I expected posturing but not an outright invasion, is there really that much support for it back in Russia?
What do you think of the economic sanctions, will they be tight enough screws to finally get people to turn on Putin and end this mess, say if it was coupled with heavy losses in Ukrain when they expected a cake walk?
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Cain

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Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« Reply #275 on: March 01, 2022, 02:03:50 pm »
The thing is, if Russia's going to threaten to invade if Ukraine's part of NATO or not, then they might as well join, since the opportunity cost is exactly the same. "Neutrality" isn't really an option here, even that will be taken as trying to remove themselves from Russia's sphere of influence. That's what is so damning about the whole thing, the Minsk agreement would have effectively made them neutral, but that apparently wasn't acceptable enough to Putin's people.

I haven't been able to get my head around it, I expected posturing but not an outright invasion, is there really that much support for it back in Russia?
What do you think of the economic sanctions, will they be tight enough screws to finally get people to turn on Putin and end this mess, say if it was coupled with heavy losses in Ukrain when they expected a cake walk?

Honestly, it's hard to say where Russian public opinion is. My impression is that the war is not popular at home, given the protests that occured and the messages on social media. At the same time, this is a modern war, so my assumption is that any such messages are being amplified to try and undermine Russian morale and feelings of legitimacy. On top of that, Russian TV and social media is controlled to a certain extent that such popular expressions will be scrubbed. And it's worth noting that the Russian opposition movements were proscribed as terrorist organisations and dismantled last year, so the state of the Russian opposition is pretty poor rigt now.

I doubt the sanctions will be tight enough, though kicking them out of SWIFT and the rapidly depreciating value of the ruble are going to hit ordinary people hard. Could cause them to get angry at Ptin, could create a "rally around the flag" effect. Hard to say. I also think it's fair to say that any UK sanctions in particular will be extremely lacklustre and riddled with loopholes, because the Tories need that funding. And I do think people will not be impressed once this bogs down into an insurgency, which increasingly seems to be the case. The Russians tried a blitzkrieg but their logistics and supply lines apparently suck pretty hard.

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Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« Reply #276 on: March 02, 2022, 02:04:47 am »

The thing is, if Russia's going to threaten to invade if Ukraine's part of NATO or not, then they might as well join, since the opportunity cost is exactly the same. "Neutrality" isn't really an option here, even that will be taken as trying to remove themselves from Russia's sphere of influence. That's what is so damning about the whole thing, the Minsk agreement would have effectively made them neutral, but that apparently wasn't acceptable enough to Putin's people.


If Ukraine is a part of NATO, doesn't that obligate the US and NATO to do a lot more than send them weapons when attacked? Theoretically pushing us closer to direct conflict and subsequent Nuclear Annihilation? Based on a lot of talk going around by World Leaders, Military Strategists, and every-day idiots on my Facebook feed, I no longer buy the assumption that everyone believes in MAD. And that should have been pretty predictable, considering it's merely an extrapolation of the concept of "Chicken" to Global proportions. I can find article after article of that game ending in countless dead idiots on the freeway. For that reason, we shouldn't consider direct conflict and invocation of MAD as an option. It might have been a pretty concept when even the Nuclear Arsenals of two countries couldn't turn our planet into a soot-covered, radioactive icy hellscape, but we're past that now.

Putin couldn't have been completely unaware of how much Ukraine has been building its Defenses since 2014. I refuse to believe that even a frustrated Putin would consider a direct Military Conflict to be cheaper than the de facto conditions of the Minsk 2 Agreement (Culture Wars and Intelligence/Espionage operations to establish Hegemony over Ukraine with the help of Political Factions from the Donbas and Crimean Peninsula.). If the US and NATO were willing to do the bare minimum, like talk Ukraine off the ledge Re: NATO membership (Which literally no one wanted anyways.) and actually moving forward with the Minsk 2 despite its disagreement on the interpretation, and overall cared more about preventing escalating conflict even when inconvenient, I think Russia would have avoided a full invasion and countless lives could have been saved.

I speak as someone who knows their own signaling couldn't possibly affect a foreign country. Nothing I say or do is going to affect Putin's decision-making. But if I kick up enough shit about my own country's actions/inaction, I have a higher, even if negligible chance of making someone in Washington attribute more value to human life and do better.

We're able to properly condemn the actions of people within a country/society using the Justice System. When their actions put the Liberty of others in Jeopardy, we quite literally have the ability to, with a seemingly external overwhelming force, put them in their place and maybe even rehabilitate them when we're feeling humane. When we're talking about the scale of World Super-Powers with the ability to end organized Human Life as we know it in less than an hour, there is no external overwhelming force that can come to the rescue. We actually have to take into account the concerns of absolute pieces of shit, and concede when it means living to find another way to beat them. I don't think we can continue treating War on the World Stage like some Moral pissing contest between opposing views on "Nation Sovereignty", as if the US Government or NATO ever gave a shit about that anyways. Countries do not exist in a vacuum - Sovereignty does not mean "Can act without consequences". There are ways of organizing against Autocrats that don't involve putting us all at risk, even if those methods might require us to admit that our own forms of Human Organization are inherently violent and wrong. I'm done pretending like the World Leaders should get a free pass to play ignorant every time another country starts a very predictable and preventable catastrophe.

/rant

Not directed at anyone here. Just completely disgusted by our general views of conflict as a species right now.
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Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« Reply #277 on: March 02, 2022, 02:08:15 am »
Sometimes a war happens and America isn't the bad guy.

Call me crazy, but there you are.
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Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« Reply #278 on: March 02, 2022, 02:29:38 am »
Sometimes a war happens and America isn't the bad guy.

Call me crazy, but there you are.

I didn't say America was solely responsible. They didn't invade Ukraine. That's Putin's sin. I'm saying America's inaction, through either laziness or ignorance, helped build the conditions that made it a reality. They are complicit, and if they continue down this line of reasoning with Russia, we're no longer going to be alive to bitch about it. It's our responsibility to pressure our government to do better.

Giving them the out is like giving American Corporate Oligarchs an out for having lived through and been brainwashed by Capitalist Propaganda into thinking their persistent exploitation of their fellow countrymen and the environment is okay because profits are up this quarter. They chose to keep overwhelming Power. They are culpable for how they've used and abused it, regardless of whether they understand their role in the resulting dystopia.
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Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« Reply #279 on: March 02, 2022, 03:20:45 am »
It doesn't even matter at this point. NATO all but just collectively agreed to shoot down Russian planes in their air space. Because backing a solipsistic nut job with Nuclear Launch Codes, who's just humiliated himself in front of the entire World, even further into a corner is sure to work out well for everyone.

I mean, seriously? Is no one else getting "Don't Look Up" vibes right now? What in the actual fuck is going on?
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Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« Reply #280 on: March 02, 2022, 10:10:41 am »

The thing is, if Russia's going to threaten to invade if Ukraine's part of NATO or not, then they might as well join, since the opportunity cost is exactly the same. "Neutrality" isn't really an option here, even that will be taken as trying to remove themselves from Russia's sphere of influence. That's what is so damning about the whole thing, the Minsk agreement would have effectively made them neutral, but that apparently wasn't acceptable enough to Putin's people.


If Ukraine is a part of NATO, doesn't that obligate the US and NATO to do a lot more than send them weapons when attacked? Theoretically pushing us closer to direct conflict and subsequent Nuclear Annihilation? Based on a lot of talk going around by World Leaders, Military Strategists, and every-day idiots on my Facebook feed, I no longer buy the assumption that everyone believes in MAD. And that should have been pretty predictable, considering it's merely an extrapolation of the concept of "Chicken" to Global proportions. I can find article after article of that game ending in countless dead idiots on the freeway. For that reason, we shouldn't consider direct conflict and invocation of MAD as an option. It might have been a pretty concept when even the Nuclear Arsenals of two countries couldn't turn our planet into a soot-covered, radioactive icy hellscape, but we're past that now.

Putin couldn't have been completely unaware of how much Ukraine has been building its Defenses since 2014. I refuse to believe that even a frustrated Putin would consider a direct Military Conflict to be cheaper than the de facto conditions of the Minsk 2 Agreement (Culture Wars and Intelligence/Espionage operations to establish Hegemony over Ukraine with the help of Political Factions from the Donbas and Crimean Peninsula.). If the US and NATO were willing to do the bare minimum, like talk Ukraine off the ledge Re: NATO membership (Which literally no one wanted anyways.) and actually moving forward with the Minsk 2 despite its disagreement on the interpretation, and overall cared more about preventing escalating conflict even when inconvenient, I think Russia would have avoided a full invasion and countless lives could have been saved.

I speak as someone who knows their own signaling couldn't possibly affect a foreign country. Nothing I say or do is going to affect Putin's decision-making. But if I kick up enough shit about my own country's actions/inaction, I have a higher, even if negligible chance of making someone in Washington attribute more value to human life and do better.

We're able to properly condemn the actions of people within a country/society using the Justice System. When their actions put the Liberty of others in Jeopardy, we quite literally have the ability to, with a seemingly external overwhelming force, put them in their place and maybe even rehabilitate them when we're feeling humane. When we're talking about the scale of World Super-Powers with the ability to end organized Human Life as we know it in less than an hour, there is no external overwhelming force that can come to the rescue. We actually have to take into account the concerns of absolute pieces of shit, and concede when it means living to find another way to beat them. I don't think we can continue treating War on the World Stage like some Moral pissing contest between opposing views on "Nation Sovereignty", as if the US Government or NATO ever gave a shit about that anyways. Countries do not exist in a vacuum - Sovereignty does not mean "Can act without consequences". There are ways of organizing against Autocrats that don't involve putting us all at risk, even if those methods might require us to admit that our own forms of Human Organization are inherently violent and wrong. I'm done pretending like the World Leaders should get a free pass to play ignorant every time another country starts a very predictable and preventable catastrophe.

/rant

Not directed at anyone here. Just completely disgusted by our general views of conflict as a species right now.

You're now conflating Ukraine's wish to join NATO with NATO actually allowing them to join.

Under the Minsk agreement, not only would Russia have had a veto over NATO membership, NATO is bound by it's own charter which requires countries that have "ethnic disputes or external territorial disputes, including irredentist claims, or internal jurisdictional disputes must settle those disputes by peaceful means in accordance with OSCE principles. Resolution of such disputes would be a factor in determining whether to invite a state to join the Alliance." No-one wants to get into a nuclear war for the Donbas.

Clearly even with the Minsk agreement, Ukraine was not going to be any position to join NATO any time soon. The same issues are why Georgia has not yet joined NATO, despite it being even more popular there.

As for Putin, look at the number of wars he's launched at this point. He's drunk on impunity, he thought his military logistics were better than they were and that he had a plan to knock Ukraine out in a blitzkrieg strike. Clearly he was wrong.

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Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« Reply #281 on: March 02, 2022, 10:13:23 am »
It doesn't even matter at this point. NATO all but just collectively agreed to shoot down Russian planes in their air space. Because backing a solipsistic nut job with Nuclear Launch Codes, who's just humiliated himself in front of the entire World, even further into a corner is sure to work out well for everyone.

I mean, seriously? Is no one else getting "Don't Look Up" vibes right now? What in the actual fuck is going on?

"All but agreed?"

Quote from: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
NATO is not going to send the troops into Ukraine or move planes into Ukrainian airspace.

Quote from: President of Poland Andrzej Duda
Gentlemen, as Secretary General has now said, we are not sending any jets to Ukraine because that would open a military interference in the Ukrainian conflict. We are not joining that conflict. NATO is not a party to that conflict. However as I said, we are supporting Ukrainians with humanity aid. However, we are not going to send any jets to the Ukrainian airspace.

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Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« Reply #282 on: March 02, 2022, 12:39:26 pm »
It doesn't even matter at this point. NATO all but just collectively agreed to shoot down Russian planes in their air space. Because backing a solipsistic nut job with Nuclear Launch Codes, who's just humiliated himself in front of the entire World, even further into a corner is sure to work out well for everyone.

I mean, seriously? Is no one else getting "Don't Look Up" vibes right now? What in the actual fuck is going on?

"All but agreed?"

Quote from: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
NATO is not going to send the troops into Ukraine or move planes into Ukrainian airspace.

Quote from: President of Poland Andrzej Duda
Gentlemen, as Secretary General has now said, we are not sending any jets to Ukraine because that would open a military interference in the Ukrainian conflict. We are not joining that conflict. NATO is not a party to that conflict. However as I said, we are supporting Ukrainians with humanity aid. However, we are not going to send any jets to the Ukrainian airspace.

"Their" was in reference to NATO, not Ukraine. I know US/NATO aren't that stupid. Some would argue NATO airspace doesn't matter in terms of escalation, but I disagree.

And yeah, obviously Ukraine wasn't going to be joining NATO. That's why US/NATO's position is so irredeemably stupid. We openly invited them after their request to join, and then even after a direct military response from Russia, guaranteeing the clause you just quoted would take effect, WE DUG OUR HEELS IN ON THE IDEA OF THEM JOINING. Why not just focus on de-escalation, and have Ukraine/Georgia join later after Putin croaks? Why put us all at further risk over some legal bullshit we can ignore after everyone who cares about it is dead? Not that the US actually follows International Law unconditionally anyways.

We're spending too much time trying to justify escalation, and not enough time de-escalating. It's as simple as that. Conceding anything to Putin would be painful and heartbreaking, but it would either de-escalate the situation, or prove he was lying with no further risk.

NATO: "Okay, Ukraine can't join NATO and you can have de facto control over their foreign policy via Minsk 2"

Russia: "Oh, well actually that's not gonna work anymore."

World: *Facepalm*


Literally, the only way I can see our current trajectory making sense is if someone secretly replaced all of Russia's Nuclear Arsenal with cartoonishly big flags that say "Boom!" on them.
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Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« Reply #283 on: March 08, 2022, 12:23:02 pm »
So a week in and I am still not sure what to make from it. I dont like getting my information off whats being shared on social platforms and if you were to go off of reddit news articles the Ukranians have decimated the Russians.

Does it hold up, has Russia taken enough of a black eye to consider withdrawing, or is the damage they have taken inconsequential for their goal of capturing Ukraine and all this is doing is delaying the inevitable?
How can Putin still have support from this back home surely at home in Russia there would be:
Those who oppose the war
Those who dont really care but intend to use it as a cudgel to remove Putin and take power for themselves?

Or is his own support base so unwavering that he still able to weather this?
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Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« Reply #284 on: March 09, 2022, 12:27:13 am »
Sometimes a war happens and America isn't the bad guy.

Call me crazy, but there you are.

I didn't say America was solely responsible. They didn't invade Ukraine. That's Putin's sin. I'm saying America's inaction, through either laziness or ignorance, helped build the conditions that made it a reality. They are complicit, and if they continue down this line of reasoning with Russia, we're no longer going to be alive to bitch about it. It's our responsibility to pressure our government to do better.

Giving them the out is like giving American Corporate Oligarchs an out for having lived through and been brainwashed by Capitalist Propaganda into thinking their persistent exploitation of their fellow countrymen and the environment is okay because profits are up this quarter. They chose to keep overwhelming Power. They are culpable for how they've used and abused it, regardless of whether they understand their role in the resulting dystopia.

Russia is solely responsible.  Nobody held a gun to Putin's head and told him to invade.
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